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National Assembly for Wales introduces Living Wage for externally contracted staff

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

By Helen Keates

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THE Living Wage is set to come into force for staff working at the National Assembly for Wales.

It means that those workers employed by external contractors, such as catering and cleaning staff, will receive the boost to their pay packet.

All staff employed directly by the Assembly are already guaranteed this wage, which is independently set by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and linked to the basic cost of living in the UK.

The Assembly Commission said it felt that this basic wage should be extended to all workers on the Assembly's estate, and any contractor bidding for an Assembly contract will have to guarantee their staff earn the Living Wage.

Now the Assembly has been officially accredited as a UK Living Wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation.

"The Assembly Commission is of the view that a Living Wage should be a basic human right," said Sandy Mewies AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for Assembly Resources and Facilities.

"We have always ensured that contracted staff get a wage higher than the minimum wage but we feel that the research demonstrates this is still too low.

"Critics will argue that this is unaffordable in times of austerity but my response would be that this provides low-paid workers with more disposable income, which allows them to purchase goods and services that many of us may take for granted.

"In turn, this will drive more money into the economy and hopefully create more jobs in those sectors.

"Furthermore, contractors tell us that paying these wages means that the turnover of staff is likely to be lower which ensures services are delivered more effectively."

Almost 100 top employers from every sector are now paying the Living Wage. Living Wage Employers report improved morale, lower turnover of staff, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and improved customer service.

Organisations signed up to the Living Wage include accountants KPMG, the Labour Party, Lloyd's of London and Unicef.

"The National Assembly for Wales is proud to join this list of ground breaking organisations in providing lower paid workers with the basic human right of a Living Wage," Mrs Mewies added.

Local councils have been exploring the idea of introducing a living wage.

Carmarthenshire councillors are embroiled in a row over whether it should be implemented and how the cost would be met.

In September Neath Port Talbot Council entered talks with unions over the possibility of introducing the Living Wage. On Wednesday Swansea Council's cabinet is expected to discuss proposals to introduce it in its outline budget.

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  • abertawejack  |  December 14 2012, 9:05PM

    Will all incapacity benefit seekers kindly leave this room, as it doesn't concern disabled people.

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  • Neathboy234  |  December 14 2012, 5:56PM

    The living wage is a positive thing, paying someone low wages who has a family results only in one thing. The state topping up his poor wage. IE taxpayers like myself subsidizing bad employers

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  • siarad2  |  December 14 2012, 5:38PM

    At the expense of pensioner's dying wage

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  • weslangdon  |  December 14 2012, 1:48PM

    Good, but they need to go another step and refuse to implement ConDem cuts too; neither Labour nor Plaid AMs were elected to put through Westminster's cuts.

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